Crush It

Summary Written by Chris Taylor

The Big Idea

You Inc.

"Everyone - EVERYONE - needs to start thinking of themselves as a brand. It is no longer an option; it is a necessity."- Crush It, page 9

Gary believes (as I do) that the virtual world is incredible at creating transparency. Everything we do, every interaction we have and job we complete is documented, cataloged and easily referenced with a quick Google search. Physical resumes are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Why would a potential employer or client take your word for it, when they can look you up on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and see what people are really saying about your work? Entrepreneurs and dedicated employees alike need to start thinking about their personal brand, and the reputation associated with it.

It honestly doesn’t really matter if you think Twitter is “stupid”, or Facebook is “for kids”. Your personal opinion is a non-factor. More and more, people are looking online to find out the “real story” about who you are, how you work and whether you’d be a good fit with their organization. The sooner you get on board with the idea that you have your own brand (whether you like it or not, whether you’re conscious of it or not), the sooner you can start taking ownership for it and making sure the right message is being portrayed. There’s a couple key points that can help you do that effectively:

Insight #1

Authenticity, the Key Ingredient

"Watch me for two seconds and you know exactly who I am and what I stand for. Authenticity is key."- Crush It, page 31

Arguably the single most beautiful element of the online world is that it allows you to connect with millions of people who share your same passions and interests. Everyone can connect with everyone, making the world a much smaller place. This is a double edged sword of course – it’s great in the sense that you’re now able to find companies (both potential employers and clients) that have a passion for what you do more easily than ever before. It also means that the competition can find them more easily too. So how do you differentiate yourself from the masses? Sending off a paper resume – one that looks exactly like the 400 other resumes they received today? No. Absolutely not. Do something unique. Do something uniquely you. Most likely as a result of the inundation of information we have all had over the past 14 years (since the public birth of the internet), we have rapidly built incredible BS-filters. We know when someone is being authentic, and we know when we’re being sold. There are a lot of unauthentic people out there – people doing what they “think” they should be doing, and saying what they think you want to hear. Genuine authenticity is refreshing. It stands out. More than finding someone with the right skill sets or experience, people really just want to connect with other passionate, genuine human beings. It’s amazing how far you can get by being genuine about who you are.

Take a chance this week – let down your walls and speak openly, honestly. Be raw and imperfect. People will respond to it. Just watch.

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Insight #2

Give ‘Em A Wagon To Jump On

"For all my charisma and entertainment value, if the content I was putting out wasn’t any good and couldn’t be trusted, no one would be watching. No one."- Crush It, page 32

Personal branding is about knowing what you stand for. It’s about having a set of values that you can clearly state, a passion you can clearly state, and an area of expertise that you continually dive into. You can reinvent yourself all you want, but at any given time people should be able to identify what you do, and have confidence that you do it well. We’re in information overload, man! You need to be able to define yourself in 5 seconds or less or people will move on. It may not be fair, but it’s the result of the ADD world we’re living in. If you’re authentic, people will want to connect with you. That’s the emotional side of business (and human for that matter!) interaction. Now you need to give them the rational reason for them to jump on board with whatever you’re doing. Be relevant. Have high quality, trustworthy content, work your guts out, and people will find you.

What’s your content? What’s the area of your job/life/hobby that you love so much you’re happy to be associated with it and you’re willing to work like crazy to become the “go to” guy (or girl) for it?

Work your guts out. Crush It is not just a book, it’s an attitude. It’s an invincible, “try and stop me”, taking on the world with a raw passion sort of mentality. You have to know your stuff. You have to be clearly branding yourself in a way that people can relate to. But at the end of the day, it’s all about who works the hardest. If you want to make a name for yourself, if you want to get ahead (and stay ahead) of the massive competition base, you need to be willing to (in Gary’s words) “work ‘till your eyeballs bleed.” That’s how you get to be number one. And in this glorious online world of ours, number one (or #2-7 for that matter) is a highly profitable place to be. Personal brand is everything. But it’s nothing if people don’t know about you.

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Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is a “New York Times” bestselling author and American businessman who was born in Belarus and immigrated to the United States as a young child. Gary’s entrepreneurial instincts took over at a young age, when he owned a franchise of neighbourhood lemonade stands and made $1,000 a weekend selling baseball cards. Much to his dismay, his father Sasha pulled Gary into the family business, a local liquor store called Shopper’s Discount Liquors. Before long, Gary recognized that consumers collected rare wines just like people collected baseball cards, and he was off to the races. Gary transformed himself into a wine expert, rebranded the store as Wine Library, launched a retail website in 1997, and by 2008 he had raised annual revenue from $4 million to $60 million. In 2006 Gary achieved one of his life-long goals when he was caricatured on the front page of the “Wall Street Journal” in an article about online wine sales.

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